In the years 2010-12, I engaged in lengthy researches into the Eleusinian Mysteries, seeking to penetrate the veil that had descended over those secret rites with a conviction that what had been anciently concealed would have great value for modern humanity. In brief, I found that the experience of the celebrants at Eleusis involved a radical transformation of perception through the inherence of shapeshifting deities, the consumption of a visionary sacrament and a world-healing ritual of such efficacy that the rites culminated in a visio beatifica granted by the visit of Persephone in her guise as Thea, Everliving Goddess as Visionary Event. From this research was liberated a series of artworks entitled 'Eleusis' and an accompanying book of art and essays which is currently out of print. Since that time, my thoughts on Eleusis have developed further, and this essay draws parallels and contrasts with other mythical images in which the male acts as magical helper in female-oriented mythforms.
After a short hiatus, we continue with my serialisation of 'On Vision and Being Human', in which we review a broadly-painted image of the ubiquitous human experience of hidden realms and visionary worlds held to exist beyond mundane reality. Upcoming chapters from 'On Vision and Being Human' will turn the path onto challenging insights from quantum mechanics and neurology which, although not particularly archaic in their outlook, will eventually open us into a powerful new image of human visionary experience.
In addition, future serialisations will be interspersed with stand-alone essays of the type with which this blog was begun: coming in the next few months, a look at mythical images of emergence, the Bird Man of Lascaux and the complex beliefs behind Wandjina rock art figures in Australia
From the foregoing [previous chapters of this treatise are visible here and here] it is easy to see that a reification of visionary experience might result in a literal understanding of sacred worlds beyond our mundane reality, and it appears that for as long as humans have been recording their visions as art, this World-Beyond-Worlds or ultimate reality has been central to our perceptual and ritual lives, informing profoundly not only the elementary ideas of human experience but also the vast majority of particular cultural forms. Campbell, following Bastien, outlines several of these elementary experiences that he considers to be, in his words, conterminous with the human species, including ideas of:
“...survival after death... of the sacred area (sanctuary)... of the efficacy of ritual, of ceremonial decorations, sacrifice and of magic... of supernal agencies...of a transcendent immanent power (mana, wakonda, śakti, etc)... [and] of a relationship between dream and the mythological realm...”